Interview Special: Aladdin, King's Theatre - Kieran Brown and Jenny Douglas

It may be Halloween but pantomime season is just around the corner. We were delighted to catch up with pantomime stars Kieran Brown and Jenny Douglas who will be returning to Glasgow this festive season playing the play the title role of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine at the King’s Theatre.

After the success of Cinderella last year, are you excited to be returning to the Kings this Christmas?

KB: I really, really am! I was so thrilled when I heard last year that they wanted us ALL back and when they decided to do Aladdin instead of Peter Pan, I knew that there was no way I couldn’t come back! I had the BEST time last year – everything was just right, great cast, audience, the theatre, the city. I couldn’t be happier!

JD:  Absolutely! It's such an honour to be asked back for a second year. It's pretty rare that the whole cast gets to perform together for two years in a row so we are all chuffed to bits.

What do you enjoy most about panto?
KB: The spontaneity, the audience reaction, especially from the kids (and some of the grown-ups!) - there’s nothing like it! It’s just FUN – how many jobs do you know of where you are paid for to have a great time on stage?
JD: For me it's got to be the kids - they absolutely make panto! They adore all things magical and that's what makes the panto performance special for the audience and the actors on stage.

The Kings has a long history of panto, why do you think Glasgow loves panto so much?

KB: It’s very much a People Panto – it doesn’t scrimp on production values, and it gives the audience everything it would want from a pantomime, while still being classy and entertaining. The team at the King’s LOVE the pantomime, for them it’s really the highlight of the year and they work very hard to exceed expectations year on year. And I think it works!
JD: Honestly I was shocked both times I've performed at the kings, once in We Will Rock You and last years panto Cinderella - Glasgow audiences are renowned worldwide for their appreciation for entertainment. Just people out for a good time and good banter - best audiences ever!!

Panto seasons are always full on, whats the biggest challenge and how do you keep your energy levels up?

KB: 2 shows a day for more than a month is HARD, and the three show days are a killer (though thankfully there are not so many of them!). We draw our energy from the audience to be honest – the more up for it they are, the harder we work to keep them engaged. There is a lot of sleep between shows, quiet downtime, and we respect each other’s need for space and time out. The atmosphere backstage is ALWAYS great at the kings though. 

JD: The biggest challenge is getting rest, Kieran possesses the secret to this - a blow up bed from Argos which we share in between shows for 40 winks [laughs] (We don't share the bed FYI!)

Kieran, youre currently in Vienna performing Love Never Dies (in German no less!) how are you enjoying Vienna and the challenge of performing in a different language?

KB: I have a long history with Vienna so the chance to perform in one of my favourite shows [which Kieran did in London] in my favourite European city is just awesome. I really like singing the score in German – it was a tad strange relearning all the lyrics in another language, but I speak a bit of German and the cast and creative at the Ronacher Theatre were all so supportive and helpful, it’s really been such a joy. Andrew Lloyd Webber surprised us which was also very satisfying, particularly as he loved the production so much – with a world class 41 piece orchestra, what’s NOT to love?!

After your travels, when do rehearsals for Aladdin get under way?

KB: I have 2 weeks off in London, where I will be doing a couple of concerts and a charity gig, then up to Scotland to start on the 18th November and I can’t wait to be back in Glasgow! First stop, Kings Café for a sausage supper! 

What are you looking forward to the most about another festive season at the Kings?

KB: Firstly being back with the panto family from last year – we really all did have a blast together so I can’t wait to be reunited with Karen Dunbar, Gavin Mitchell, Jenny and everyone. No egos, no drama queens, just a great bunch of people. And the team at the King’s are by far the BEST in the business. They go the extra mile to make sure we are all happy. It’ll also be great for me to spend some time at home in Falkirk with my family again. I don’t get home al that often so it’s always good to be able to spend some quality time with my Mum.  And my Dad’s Sunday breakfasts are world class too!

JD: Because I live down in London I miss home very much, the best things about doing the King’s panto are having my friends and family close to me at Christmas time - it's the wee things you miss like popping round to your mums for a coffee - it's a pretty long commute from London for a brew!

Aladdin is at the King's Theatre from 6th December to 12th January 2014. For tickets and more information visit